Friday, April 20, 2018

PALEO POPPY SEED LEMON LOAF

Recently I bought a cookbook called "The Plant Paradox" by Steven Gundry. It has a number of interesting recipes. All of the recipes are gut friendly and lectin-free. The cookbook includes some great looking food and includes a variety of different foods. This recipe is from the cookbook.

This poppy seed loaf looked good and the DH asked if I would make this recipe. One ingredient that I hadn't used before is erythritol. It is a natural sweetener and doesn't spike your blood sugar. You can bake with it. It is sometimes sold under the brand name Swerve. I bought the sweetener just as erythritol and found it at the local health food store. Instead of using a loaf pan I used a round cake pan. For the lemon juice and zest I did something a bit different. Last fall I had a large bag of lemons which were not getting used and I didn't want to let them spoil. I grated the lemons to get the zest and combined the zest with the pulp of the lemons in the food processor. I pureed it and froze the mixture in ice cube trays. Once they froze I transferred them to a freezer bag. I have been using these frozen lemon cubes in recipes that call for juice and zest.

The loaf turned out fine and tastes good. Using almond flour and coconut flour creates a different texture to the loaf than using wheat flour but it holds together and is a good alternative to wheat flour.

Batter in the cake pan ready to go into the oven.

Just out of the oven.

Ready to sample.

Another angle to see the loaf slice.


INGREDIENTS:

1.5 cups almond flour
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda

3 eggs
1/2 cup erythritol or Swerve (brand name)
1/4 cup avocado oil
juice from 3 lemons
zest of 2 lemons
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp poppy seeds

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. 
2. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper.
3. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the flours, salt and soda.
4. In a separate smaller bowl, whisk the eggs and then add the erythritol, lemon juice and zest, coconut milk and vanilla extract. Whisk the wet ingredients and combine well.
5. Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and combine well.  Fold in the poppy seeds. 
6. Transfer to the lined loaf pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the loaf comes out clean.
7. Let cool for a few minutes before removing the loaf to a cooling rack. It can be served warm or at room temperature. Makes 6 to 8 servings.  

Friday, March 30, 2018

FENNEL APPLE PECAN SALAD

From time to time I buy fresh fennel bulbs both during the summer and winter months. In winter I think more about roasting and baking fennel pieces and in summer I think about adding it to salads. 

Even though it is early spring, I became focused on making a fennel salad today. I usually add orange to a fennel salad but this time I decided to add apple and some nuts. I find a fennel salad to be very refreshing and it is a nice change. In making this recipe I decided to half it as it was for two people as part of lunch and I didn't want leftovers. I cut the quantity of each ingredient into half and used a green apple and pecan nuts. To make thin strips from both the fennel and apple, I used a mandolin. I forgot how useful the mandolin is to make thin strips and need to use it more often. You can use a food processor with the right attachment to make thin strips but the mandolin has less parts to it and easier to clean up. Both the DH and I enjoyed the salad and I will make it again.   


Mixing up the fennel salad.

Ready to eat.

INGREDIENTS:

1 fennel bulb, sliced very thinly into strips
1 green or other tart apple, cored, sliced very thinly into strips 
1 oz chopped pecans, walnuts or almonds 
handful of parsley, chopped
3 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp cider vinegar
2 tsp honey
salt to taste 

DIRECTIONS:

Using a mandolin, food processor or hand grater, shred the fennel bulb and apple. Place into a medium size mixing or serving bowl. Add the nuts and parsley and mix everything until it is well combined. In a small bowl, container or glass jar, mix the olive oil, vinegar, honey and salt. Add to the bowl with the salad mixture. Mix well and serve. Makes 4 generous servings.

Friday, March 23, 2018

RAISIN CHOCOLATE CHIP PALEO COOKIE

Even though Spring arrived this week, the weather is still winter with cold and snow. One needs no better excuse to make cookies. I decided to make these cookies as they are paleo and I like the combination of raisins, chocolate chips and shredded coconut. You don't have to add the chocolate chips. They are a great substitute for oatmeal raisin cookies. I found this recipe in "Against all Grain" which has many interesting recipes.

I used a vegetable shortening and there are other options including palm shortening or butter. I used palm sugar instead of honey as the sweetener. The cookies have a darker colour as the palm sugar is brown in colour. To make the golf ball size dough for each cookie, I used a cookie scooper but didn't fill it all the way to the top. I made 14 cookies and used the convection setting on the oven at 350 degrees F. The cookies turned out great and we enjoyed them.




INGREDIENTS:

1/4 cup shortening
1 egg, room temperature
1/3 cup honey or palm sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract 
4 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp nutmeg
1 cup blanched almond flour
2 tbsp coconut flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup raisins or 1/3 cup raisins and 1/3 cup chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  

Using either a mixmaster or an electric hand mixer, mix the shortening and egg in a bowl for one minute on a high speed. Add the honey and vanilla and mix for another minute or until creamy. 

In another small bowl, add the cinnamon, nutmeg, flours, baking soda and salt and combine using a mixing spoon. Add this dry mixture to the wet mixture and mix for another minute until it is all combined. Scape the sides down with a spatula if required. Add the coconut, raisins and chocolate chips (if using). Mix again until everything is combined.

Line a cookie/baking sheet with parchment paper. Place a spoonful of batter, about the size of a golf ball, onto the parchment paper. Once you have placed all of the golf ball size cookie batter along the baking sheet, take a piece of parchment paper, place over each cookie and gently press down using the back of a spatula. Press them into circles, about 1/4 inch thick. The cookies don't spread when baking so you don't need much room between each cookie.

Bake for 12 minutes or until the edges are starting to brown. Makes 12 to 14 cookies depending on the amount of batter you use for each cookie.

Adapted from "Against all Grain" cookbook


Friday, March 9, 2018

HOT CEREAL MADE FROM NUTS

Over the years I have visited the blog site of Danielle Walker, Against All Grain,  who has written about dairy, gluten and grain-free recipes. She has written at least two cookbooks and I finally just bought the book titled "Against all Grain". It has a number of wonderful recipes that I plan to make. Danielle Walker started to change to what she ate as she was dealing with autoimmune issues including ulcerative colitis. She started to follow a Paleo diet and found the foods that helped her thrive. 

I have been following and cooking a Paleo style diet as I am watching my carbohydrate consumption/insulin resistance with balancing the amounts of carbs, fat, protein and plant material and the DH deals with some autoimmune issues. I do include some dairy in my diet including plain Greek yogurt with some fat in it, Parmesan cheese and some goat and sheep cheeses. I am careful with not consuming too much cheese. I will also have toast from time to time but I am selective on the type of bread. Sour dough is my preferred choice followed by rye or pumpernickel. I will also have small amounts of oatmeal and small amounts of certain kinds of beans. The DH is also not eating vegetables from the nightshade family and is careful eating some vegetables that have a lot of lectin in their skins. Since changing his diet, he is feeling much better. 

The recipe that I am profiling in this post is from the cookbook "Against all Grain". It is a hot cereal made from nuts. I didn't make any changes though I used almond milk instead of coconut milk. I just happened to grab the almond milk from the fridge instead of the coconut milk. I was leery of adding 2 teaspoons of cinnamon as I thought it might be too much but it wasn't. This cereal is very filling and it makes four portions. It has the consistency like cream of wheat. I would first start off by just taking one portion in your bowl as it is filling and you may think the portion is small but it is deceiving. I added a few raisins, a teaspoon of maple syrup and some almond milk to my bowl of hot cereal. Both the DH and I enjoyed this hot cereal. I will make it again. 

Nuts added to the blender.

Blending the ingredients.
Cereal placed in the pot to heat up.

Adding raisins to the bowl of cereal.

Ready to eat with milk, maple syrup and raisins added to the bowl.

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 cup raw cashews
1/2 cup raw almonds
1/2 cup raw pecan nuts
pinch of sea salt
1 ripe banana
2 cups of coconut or a nut milk
2 teaspoons cinnamon 

DIRECTIONS:

Place the nuts in a bowl or a storage container that comes with a lid. Sprinkle the nuts with the sea salt. Add water to cover the nuts by at least one inch. Cover with a lid or plastic wrap and leave on the counter overnight.

In the morning, drain the nuts and rinse them several times in a colander. Place the nuts in a high speed blender or food processor and add the rest of the ingredients. Blend until smooth. Transfer to a pot, cook on medium high until the cereal starts to heat up and reduce the heat to low. Cook for five to eight minutes. Serves 4. You can add some raisins, milk, maple syrup to your bowl of hot cereal.

Friday, February 9, 2018

CAULIFLOWER CRUST PIZZA

Over the past two weeks I have experimented with making pizza crust from cauliflower. There are a number of recipes that you can find and they all use cauliflower that is processed to become riced. Some cook the riced cauliflower and squeeze the water out of it to become a pulp while others add the uncooked riced cauliflower to the rest of the ingredients to make the crust. The two recipes that I tried both used an egg and cheese in the crust batter. Both of these ingredients help hold the crust together. For pizza crust number one, I used a baking pan and for pizza crust number two, I used a pizza stone. 

Crust number one is made using cooked riced cauliflower that you drain in the colander, then squeeze the pulp in a dish towel and wring it out until all of the excess moisture is removed. It takes some work to wring and squeeze the water out.Two pounds of raw cauliflower ends up to be about 2 cups of dry pulp. This recipe includes an egg and soft goat cheese.

Crust number two uses riced cauliflower that doesn't require cooking. You still need to ensure that the riced cauliflower has excess moisture removed so I placed it between paper towels to remove any excess moisture. There wasn't really any moisture to remove. The recipe includes one pound of cauliflower, an egg, almond meal flour and Parmesan cheese. 

There is a two step process in baking the pizza. First you need to bake the crust and then you add the ingredients and bake it a second time but only for five to ten minutes. Because of the short cooking time for the second bake with the toppings, it is good to sauté whatever vegetables you are adding as toppings. For example, I sautéed the mushrooms and onions in advance. In pizza number two, I added spinach as a topping but didn't sauté it beforehand. In making both pizzas I used similar ingredients such as prosciutto, mushrooms and grated goat cheese. In the second pizza I used a caramelized onion flavour brick goat cheese and that is why the grated cheese has a light brown look. I didn't use any tomatoes or tomato sauce because the DH is staying away from nightshades. 

Both pizzas had a crust that held together and they were not soggy. I tried to make the crusts thin and crispy. Crust number one is from the detoxinsta.com site and crust number two is an epicurious recipe. Both pizza crusts work. In identifying which one I prefer I would choose crust number one. I think that crust holds together better and I found it less salty. A third of a cup soft goat cheese in crust number one has less salt than a cup of Parmesan cheese that was used in crust number two. Both pizzas had prosciutto in the toppings which is also salty. I will likely do more experimenting in the coming weeks on cauliflower pizza crust.


Cauliflower Crust #1

Crust out of the oven after baking for 35 minutes.

Out of the oven after baking the toppings.

Ready to sample.

Cauliflower Crust #2


Pizza dough spread out on parchment paper before placing it on a hot pizza stone.

Pizza crust after cooking for 25 minutes on a hot pizza stone.

Out of the oven after baking for almost 10 minutes with the toppings.

Ready to sample.


Sunday, January 28, 2018

CHICKEN STEW WITH COCONUT MILK

I decided to make a chicken stew for supper without using any nightshades (eg tomatoes, peppers or tomatoes) and no carrots. The DH is not eating nightshades and I wanted to keep the stew lower in carbs. It turned out fine, I likely should have added some curry powder but thought about it after it was made. I used chicken breasts but any cut of chicken could be used. I also used a full can of coconut milk and could have used half a can as the stew had a bit more liquid than what I wanted. But I didn't want to have half a can in the fridge looking for a purpose. I served the stew over mashed cauliflower. Cauliflower rice is also a good choice if you don't want to serve the stew with rice or potatoes. 

Mixing the cubed chicken with coconut flour.


Sautéing the chicken.

The vegetables are being sautéed with the chicken.

Going into the oven to cook

Ready to eat.


INGREDIENTS:

2 tbsp oil
1.5 pounds chicken breast, boneless, skinless, cut into small chunks
2-3 tbsp coconut flour
Salt and pepper

1 onion chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 gloves garlic, minced
6 mushrooms, chopped

1 can of coconut milk
1 tsp turmeric 
Salt and pepper
2 tsp tapioca flour or corn starch
bunch of chopped parsley or cilantro


Bake at 375 degrees F for 45 minutes


DIRECTIONS:

Dry the chicken with paper towels before cutting up the chicken breast into cubes. Mix the cubed chicken with the coconut flour in a container. Add some salt and pepper. 

Heat the oil in a medium size heavy dutch oven on high heat. Add the cubed chicken, reduce heat to medium and stir often. If the chicken is sticking to the pot, add a little bit of water and reduce the heat to medium low. Cook for five minutes stirring often. Add the vegetables and stir. Cook on medium low for another five minutes. Add the coconut milk, spices, flour and herbs. I shake the can of coconut milk to make sure that the cream is dispersed and not at the top of the can before I open it. Combine well. Add a lid to the dutch oven. 

Bake at 375 degrees F for 45 minutes. Check occasionally to see if the liquid is cooking down. If there is too much liquid in the stew you can take the lid off or have the pot partially covered. Serves 4 generously.   

Thursday, January 18, 2018

CHEESY BROCCOLI SOUP

With a big bag of broccoli in the fridge and wanting a change from the carrot, sweet potato and cauliflower soup that I have been eating over the past week, I decided to make a broccoli soup with some added cheese once it finished cooking. The DH has gone dairy free and we have switched over to using goat and sheep cheese and nutritional yeast. There is still a little bit of shredded parmesan cheese in the fridge (less than 1/2 cup) which I want to use up. I will use both parmesan and nutritional yeast in this soup to give it a cheesy taste. You can use shredded cheddar instead of nutritional yeast. 

Since I had a frozen package of about one cup cooked and mashed sweet potato, parsnip and rutabaga, I added this to the soup instead of the carrot and potato. Some people like to sauté the onion, celery and garlic before adding the rest of the ingredients. I was lazy and skipped doing that and just dumped everything into the pot. I use an immersion blender to puree soups. If you don't use one, a potato masher or blender are other tools which will help puree the soup. The soup turned out fine. There is a difference with not using real cheddar cheese but it still tastes good. 

To serve this soup, I added a tablespoon of shredded parmesan cheese.


INGREDIENTS:

1 large onion, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 large carrot, chopped
1 medium to large potato, chopped
4 to 5 cups cups of broccoli, cut into small pieces
6 cups of vegetable or chicken broth
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning or dill or thyme
salt and pepper to taste

1 cup of milk - dairy, almond, coconut or soy
1/2 cup nutritional yeast OR 2 cups of shredded cheddar


DIRECTIONS:

Into a large soup pot add of the ingredients except the milk and cheese. Cover the pot with a lid and heat on high until it boils. Reduce the heat to simmer and cook for at least 45 minutes until all of the vegetables are tender. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup. You can leave some small chunks of vegetables if you want. Add the milk and cheese, stir and season with more salt and pepper if required. Serves 6. 

If using a pressure cooker, cook for 15 minutes on medium pressure.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

SWEET POTATO, CARROT AND CAULIFLOWER SOUP

I like to add some variety to the soups I make each week. In looking for a soup without grains or beans I decided to make this soup. The carrots and sweet potatoes add sweetness to the taste of the soup and by pureeing it, the taste is smooth. I used six cups of chicken broth and I didn't add the full cup of almond milk but used just over half a cup.  

You could add some barley (1/2 cup uncooked) or chick peas (1 to 1.5 cups cooked) to the soup if you want to bulk it up and thicken it while it cooks. Since I made it late afternoon, it wasn't served as part of supper. But I did have a sample from the ladle and it tastes just right.

Ladling out the soup from the pressure cooker.


INGREDIENTS:

1 large onion, coarsely diced
1 large celery stalk, diced
1 glove garlic, minced
2 tsp oil
2 medium size sweet potatoes, peeled, finely chopped
3 medium to large size carrots, peeled, finely chopped
5 to 6 cups vegetable or chicken broth
2 tbsp chopped fresh dill
1/2 tsp dried thyme
Salt and pepper to taste

1 cup milk

DIRECTIONS:

Heat the oil in a large stock pot on medium high. Once hot, add the onion and celery, stir a few times and reduce the heat on the stove to medium. Sauté for four minutes, stir frequently and add the garlic. Stir frequently for another two minutes so that the garlic does not stick. If the vegetables are sticking, add a bit of water to the pot. Add all of the remaining ingredients except the milk. Cover the pot with a lid. Turn the heat up to high until the soup boils. Reduce the heat to simmer and cook for 45 to 60 minutes until the vegetables are tender. 

Using an immersion blender, purée at least half of the soup. If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can purée the soup in a blender or use a potato masher. Add the milk. Makes 8 servings.

Pressure Cooker Option
If using an electric pressure cooker, follow the same directions for sautéing the vegetables using the sauté option on the pressure cooker. Cook the soup for 15 minutes using medium pressure. Once the pressure is released from the pot, purée the soup and add the milk.


Wednesday, January 3, 2018

RED LENTIL SOUP


Several weeks ago I saw this recipe for red lentil soup from the Moosewood Restaurant Favorites cookbook. I marked it and thought it would be great to make after I had enough of eating turkey soup over the Christmas season. Moosewood Restaurant has produced a number of great cookbooks and I have collected two of them so far. I made a few modifications to the original recipe. In the pantry or freezer, I have frozen tomatoes, diced tomatoes in the can and garden canned tomatoes. I decided to use a 28 ounce can of diced tomatoes and I drained the juice out of the can before adding the tomatoes to the soup mixture as I thought a 28 full can would be too much.

The taste of the soup after cooking in the pressure cooker was wonderful and I look forward to consuming this over the next number of days. 

Soup cooling in the container from the electric pressure cooker.

Soup ready to eat. 


INGREDIENTS:

1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large potato, chopped
2 medium carrots, diced 
1/2 coloured pepper, diced
1 tsp dried powdered ginger or 1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp ground turmeric 
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander 
2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes or a 14 ounce can of diced tomatoes 
1 1/2 cups red lentils
6 to 7 cups water, chicken or vegetable broth

2 tbsp lemon juice
1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped 
salt and pepper to taste


DIRECTIONS:

Electric Pressure Cooker:

Using the sauté function, add the oil, heat it until hot and add the onion, potato and carrot. Stir every few minutes and after five minutes add the diced pepper and spices. Sauté for another three to four minutes. Turn the sauté feature off and add the water/broth, tomatoes, lentil and salt and pepper. Set the pressure cooker to cook for 15 minutes. Once the pressure is released and you can open the lid, add the cilantro and lemon juice and stir. Add more salt and pepper if needed. Makes 6 to 8 servings depending on the size of the soup bowl. If you find the soup too thick the following day in the storage container, add a bit of water. 

Stove Top:

Add the oil to a large soup pot, turn the burner to high and when hot, add the onion, potato and carrot.  Reduce heat to medium and sauté for five minutes and stir every few minutes. Add diced pepper and spices and continue to sauté for another three to four minutes. Add the water/broth, tomatoes, lentils and salt and pepper. Increase the heat to high, cover the pot with a lid until it starts to boil. Reduce the heat to simmer and cook for an hour. Add the cilantro and lemon juice, stir and if needed, add more salt and pepper. Makes 6 to 8 servings depending on the size of the soup bowl. If you find the soup too thick the following day in the storage container, add a bit of water. 

Adapted from Moosewood Restaurant Favorites 

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

PECAN DATE BITES

I was never a big fan of pecan or raisin pie as I always found them to be too sweet. The Real Food Dietitians recently shared a small recipe book for holiday season baking. I saw this recipe in their book. They call them truffles but I like to call them bites as I make them small, bite size. When I think of truffles I conjure up smooth tasting ganache chocolate. What I like about this recipe is that is like pecan pie without the added sugar and pie crust. The sugar is provided by the dates. It is not overly sweet and the calories do no make me cringe. 

I made a few minor changes to the recipe. I added a cap of melted chocolate onto the top of each bite. I didn't add the extra sea salt or pecan to the top of the bite. You can drizzle the chocolate if you like. I used a mini cookie scoop and made 20 bites. I like to store them in the fridge if I am going to be eating them over several days. Otherwise I would store them in the freezer. 

The DH and I both like these bites and I think they will be popular with guests.


Used a small cookie scoop to place the Bites on  a cookie sheet.

Added a small cap of melted chocolate to the top of the Bite.
Ready to sample!


INGREDIENTS:


• 1 1⁄2 cup raw pecans
• 18
Deglet Noor dates or 9 meejool dates, pitted

1 tsp pure vanilla
• 1/8  tsp sea salt


2 tbsp dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips 
• 1⁄4 tsp coconut oil
• Optional - 
extra sea salt and/or chopped pecans for sprinkling on top


DIRECTIONS:
page10image3674800
  1. Place pecans, dates, vanilla and sea salt in the bowl of a food processor. Process until mixture resembles coarse sand and sticks together when pinched between two fingers. If mixture is too dry, add a few drop of water and process again. If mixture is too sticky, add a few more pecans and process again.
  2. Roll nut mixture into 16 balls (about 1 tablespoon of mixture each). Place on a plate or a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
  3. Melt chocolate chips and coconut oil in a small bowl in the microwave (or set over a pan over simmering water to simulate a double boiler) - 5-10 seconds at a time, stirring in between, until glossy and smooth.
  4. Use a spoon to drizzle each bite with melted chocolate. Sprinkle with additional sea salt and chopped pecans, if desired.
Allow chocolate to harden before storing in a covered container on the counter for up to 3 days. They may also be refrigerated or frozen for longer storage. 

Makes 16 to 20 servings depending on the size of the bite. 

From the Real Food Dietitians